Compromise smoking ban passes

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em, because after December 1, that won't be happening in most of the restaurants and bars that still allow smoking in Virginia. The General Assembly passed today the ban that Governor Tim Kaine has sought since he was took office in 2005. Lighting up will be allowed in private clubs and restaurants with a separately ventilated room.


Haha haha ha! You people kill me we live in the land of the free; but you always trying to tell us what to do.

Exactly, this is the land of the free. In this case, more people would prefer smokers do their thing outside rather then inside compromising everyone's health whether they like it or not.

Seeing as how this prop. was introduced to our States ELECTED representatives (Dems and Reps., Senate and House of Delegates) by our ELECTED governor then approved by votes, it's pretty hard to agree with your accusations.

But on the other hand, they are always telling us what to do huh? Like telling us we can't drink ourselves retarded then take a quick cruise to enjoy some tunes and cool wind to the face. Or making sex offenders register in their communities as one, allowing everyone to keep away from them... madness and tyranny. Who will deliver us from such oppression?

Now that the public has been able to see both plans side by side, thanks to the Hook's excellent article, I hope the community will come together to support the least environmentally damaging most practical alternative. Why lose the Ragged Mt Natural Area if we don't have too?

What We Will Lose: Wilderness in Our Own Backyard

The Ragged Mountain Natural Area is a beautiful 980-acre park, owned by the city of Charlottesville and managed by the Ivy Creek Foundation as a city-county public natural area. Unique in the local park system, RMNA offers seven miles of trails through mature forest and rugged terrain rich in wildlife and history.

The Future RWSA Water Supply Alternative will raise the level of the Ragged Mountain Reservoir at RMNA 45 vertical feet by building a new 112 foot dam. This will require clearcutting 180 acres of parkland at RMNA. With those 180 acres, RWSA will:

* Flood 135 acres of mature forest that has been cited for its exceptional wildlife habitat by a Smithsonian study and Albemarle County Biodiversity Committee
In the summer of 2002, Dr. Matthew Etterson of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center conducted a research project on the effects of forest fragmentation on nesting success of Wood Thrush at several sites in the Piedmont, including Fernbrook, Humpback Rocks, Betsy Bell, Fortune's Cove, Natural Chimneys, Paul State Forest and Ragged Mountain Natural Area. He found that among all these sites, Ragged Mountain Natural Area proved to be not only the most productive, with a total of 64 nests, but also the site of greatest nesting success. Etterson attributed that success to the maturity of the forest and the protective topography of the land.
In the 2006 Albemarle County Biodiversity Report, the Ragged Mountains and Reservoir were cited as significant for unusual habitat that support species scarce in our area such as River Otter, Prothontary Warbler, and Wood Frog.

The Ragged Mountain Natural Area is Threatened
Wilderness in Our Own Backyard: A Birder’s Haven

Ragged Mountain Natural Area is first and foremost a wildlife sanctuary. The 980-acre preserve is almost entirely forested and relatively unspoiled.

Many rare and unusual wildlife species utilize the lakes and woods of the Ragged Mountain Natural Area for nesting, feeding, and migration stop-overs.

. To date, 135 bird species have been observed at Ragged Mountain Natural Area, making it a popular destination for bird watchers.

In addition 600+ acres of unfragmented forest of mature hardwoods - especially oak - offer excellent habitat for nesting neotropical migrants. Twenty species of migratory songbirds have been observed including Prothontary and Cerulean warblers. One spring morning, 12 species of wood warblers were observed near Round Top, including Cerulean, Black-throated Blue, Parula, and Blackburnian. That same morning, three singing woodland thrush species were also recorded: Wood Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, and Veery.

Forest songbirds have been in serious decline for several decades.

Please visit our web-site for directions to this pristine wilderness area minutes from downtown Charlottesville. See for yourself, and join us in trying to save the Ragged Mt. Natural Area for generations to come in a community of diminishing parkland

The article has a section on the Official Plan titled "What's Environmentally Controversial," but not on the Alternate Plan. So there's NOTHING environmentally controversial about the Alternate Plan?

Why does the article consist primarily of "Lynch says..," "Lynch disputes.." "said Lynch," "Lynch says." I saw the meeting on TV, and there were a lot of other speakers and a lot of good points made in favor of the Official Plan. I don't know why I expected a fair report by the Hook on this meeting, but I guess I'll have to look for objective coverage somewhere else.

I suppose that what might be considered environmentally controversial about our plan is that we propose to increase the minimum instream flow of the Moormans river from 0.4mgd to a minimum of 2.0mgd and we have proposed additional ways that this can be increased

Unlike the current scheme, we do not propose to restore 'natural' flow of the Moormans. However what the current scheme accomplishes is not 'natural' flow. The watershed for the Moormans is high and steep, which means that the natural condition of the river is very flashy. During a storm it becomes a raging flood and then it slows to a trickle. While the current plan keeps the Sugar Hollow dam in place for flood control purposes, in a drought the water behind the dam is released into the river where it augments the natural flow on its way to the South Fork reservoir (picking up e coli, fertilizer, and other contaminants on its way). So rather than providing natural flow to the Moormans, the current scheme is more like a theme park river – not too dangerous when it rains and has an unnaturally elevated amount water when it would normally be dry.

I’m not sure why continuing to use the Moormans as our best source of drinking water is controversial, but it is. We have repeatedly been told by the Virginia Department of Health [8] that the Moormans river is by far our cleanest source of water and should be utilized to its maximum extent. All other sources of water in our system except the Moormans are rated “highly susceptible to contamination”. By diverting some of the Moormans while it is still clean, we have better quality drinking water and cheaper cost of treatment. It’s interesting that during all this debate about preserving the health of aquatic species, the health of human species has been totally ignored.

I do appreciate that you watched the meeting and agree that there were some good speakers on the other side. If there are any talking points from the Chamber/TNC/PEC that you think have merit, I would be more than happy to respond

For a more well round perspective on this debate,
especially the Monday night meeting visit:

Several other groups, such as SELC & RCS, also spoke in favor of the official plan, which seems to have been omitted from the Hook's article.

Thanks for the link. So according to Cvilletomorrow, here are the arguments from speakers supporting the current plan:

1) “Show leadership and continue to support the plan” Wow, that’s a compelling argument. Because we all know that a true leader follows the established plan, no matter how flawed it might be.

2) “The adopted plan is the “least environmentally damaging solution”” Maybe compared to the James River Pipeline, but not to our plan. Rivanna’s scheme clear cuts 180 acres of trees, inundates 14,033 linear feet of streams, lets the SFRR fill with sediment (until it starts dumping the sediment load over the dam and into the river below – a process our river loving friends now call “equilibrium”) and requires a 9 ½ mile trench through which a new river will be buried in a pipe. The electrical requirements of pumping this new underground river 300 feet uphill will require burning 1000 tons of coal annually. Other than the dredging, which requires a fraction of the energy of the pipeline, the only environmental impact of our plan is to restore the health of the South Fork reservoir.

3) “Money on dredging would divert money from capital improvements to increase reliable storage” Increasing the capacity of the South Fork Reservoir is the most reliable storage you can possibly get. What do you think is more reliable? Using chemicals to take the sediment out of the water and then pumping 25 million gallons of water uphill every day? Or gravity?

4) “Further delay would increase the construction costs, raising the price tag for the whole plan” Exactly. Rivanna has delayed on dredging for long enough. They said they were going to do the dredging when they raised our rates by nearly 100 percent. That is what Gannett Fleming was hired to do. If the Rivanna Board had done what they said when they took our money, the dredging would have been done by now and we wouldn’t have had to close the pools last summer. Get on with it already!

5) “Council need[s] to take steps to make sure there is enough clean drinking water for “our children and our children’s children.” No argument there. Our plan does that.

6) “Albemarle County and Greene County should do more to control sedimentation in the Rivanna River Basin “before one dime is spent on dredging” the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.” I’m sorry but that is ridiculous. Its like saying that you should do more to control the rain before spending one dime on painting your house. Sedimentation is not some sort of abnormal condition like a burst pipe that needs to be fixed. It has taken 42 years for the reservoir to partially fill with sediment. We could remove it in a less than a year if we wanted to.

7) “The community need[s] to decide what role it wanted that Reservoir to play before undertaking a dredging program.” Um, I thought the role we decided for Reservoir when we built it was to provide drinking water. When did that change?

8) “It is now our turn to invest in a plan that provides for at least the next 50 years, and we certainly hope more. We should bear this cost, and should be willing to bear this cost because it is our turn to bear it.” Wow! The developers couldnt have said it better. Who cares if we can do it cheaper! Higher water bills are our civic duty now! So what other 50 year costs are we now willing to bear because it is our turn? How about a new bypass? After all, the City built one. Isnt it the County’s turn now? And since we’re so flush with cash, why don’t we just pay for the next 50 years worth of development. Oh, wait. We’re already doing that.

9) “If you have to raise the dam part of the way, it doesn’t cost much more to raise it the rest of the way”. Ahh, but it does. Once you go beyond about 25 additional feet, then the only way to fill it without completely depleting the Moormans is with a 60 million dollar pipeline with huge annual operating costs

10) “The risks of not being conservative in your estimating [of future demand] are significant” First we have an option which can meet the inflated Rivanna demand number if that is what the community wants to do. Second, what is the point of conserving water if Rivanna is going to go out and build more infrastructure than we need anyway. Why should I get a rain barrel if Rivanna is going to charge me for enough water to build my own golf course?

I’m still waiting to hear a compelling argument in favor of the current scheme.